Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Hypocrisy highlight of World Intellectual Property Day

Thursday April 26, 2007 was World Intellectual Property Day. Canada's intellectual property law guru, Michael Geist, was less than impressed with how Canada observed it.

Here's how he describes it:

[There was] no focus on creativity or on policies that meet the needs of creators and users... [Instead we got] a private function for MPs and Senators on Parliament Hill ... [with an RCMP display of] counterfeit batteries and unsafe extension cords ... an op-ed from the U.S. Consul General in Toronto ... and a major press release from CRIA touting declines in physical CD sales ... with claims that counterfeiting and P2P are the major reasons behind the declines.

Needless to say, there is:

  • no mention of the tens of millions of dollars collected through the private copying levy that arguably covers those P2P downloads
  • no mention of the most recent Canadian Heritage Music Industry Profile which focused on the growth of sales of Canadian artists since 2001
  • no mention of the Canadian Heritage sponsored study that distinguishes between the health of the music industry and CD sales while placing much of the blame on the industry itself
  • no mention that Canadian digital music sales growth was double the rate in the U.S. last year
  • no mention that Canada has more online music stores than the U.S. when measured on a per capita basis
  • no mention that the CRIA member strategy of relying on DRM is being quickly abandoned
  • no mention of the changes at the retail level that even the Wall Street Journal points to as a critical reason for sales declines.

That is because World Intellectual Property Day has become little more than a lobbyist day with creators, users, and the facts once again getting lost in the process.

... it is worth asking whether the new CRIA data is somewhat skewed by the departure of the six major indie labels last April [that] have enjoyed significant commercial success ...

Worth asking, indeed.

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